A mother has blamed lax Adderall prescriptions brought in during the Covid pandemic for her son’s suicide.
Elijah Hanson was found dead on June 25 at the age of 21 on the kitchen floor in Tacoma, Washington, after filming himself playing Russian Roulette with a loaded gun.
His brother, Ethan, said he abused Adderall in the months leading up to his death. His mother, Kelli Rasmussen, blames drug abuse for his suicide.
She told CBS that despite her son not having Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), he was able to get a prescription online by lying to telehealth providers — even though he previously suffered from other mental health issues.
The Covid pandemic led to a relaxation of the Adderall prescription law. Previously, these scripts were not allowed unless a person was personally consulted by a doctor. Now a person can get the drug after just a virtual doctor’s visit.
Adderall, one of the most popular prescriptions for ADHD, is currently in short supply due to high demand and production issues.
Elijah Hanson (pictured), 21, died by suicide in June. He had been struggling with mental health problems for years. His family said a recent Adderall prescription he obtained through Cerebral played a role in his death
Hanson (pictured) was playing Russian Roulette with a gun in the house when he committed suicide. His mother would later find his dead body in her kitchen
Kelli Rasmussen, Hanson’s mother, accused online telehealth platform Cerebral of being complicit in her son’s death.
He was given a prescription for the drugs in April, even after the platform denied him in February because it considered him a high-risk patient.
Elijah had been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and had been treated for years at a local clinic.
Cerebral, and similar platforms, emerged during the Covid pandemic after regulators relaxed prescribing laws for ADHD drugs.
Previously, doctors had to meet a patient in person to write a prescription, but now only a virtual consultation is required.
“It was him and I in this huge battle, constantly looking for therapists, psychiatrists, someone who could help him with his problems,” Kelli Rasmussen, Hanson’s mother, told me. CBS.
Kelli Rasmussen (left), Mr Hanson’s mother, blamed Adderall for her son’s death, saying it exacerbated his mental symptoms. Ethan Hanson (right), Elijah’s brother, said he knew his brother was abusing Adderall
Cerebral is a San Francisco, California-based telehealth platform that used to offer prescriptions for anxiety, ADHD, and other medications.
A person using the service can get a prescription within hours of completing a survey and virtual consultation with a doctor.
The first doctor Elijah met on the platform denied him the drugs, citing concerns about his mental state.
He created a new account in April and was able to get hold of a prescription for Adderall, according to CBS.
Ethan said he knew his brother had lied and was abusing the drugs.
“You can definitely tell he took way too much. And he was completely out of his mind,” he said.
Just two months after receiving the drug, he committed suicide.
Whether or not he was high on Adderall when he died by suicide is not clear.
While cases like Mr. Hanson’s are dramatic, it is just one of many examples of young people getting their hands on Adderall too easily through these telehealth platforms.
Adderall is a controlled substance in the US, which means it requires a prescription. Possession or sale without permission is illegal.
Its distribution through online providers was banned by the Ryan Haight Act of 2008, a law named after an 18-year-old who overdosed on drugs purchased online.
The law banned Adderall prescriptions for patients who did not receive a personal visit from a doctor.
This restriction was temporarily lifted during the Covid pandemic as telehealth became more widespread and the use of personal health services declined.
Cerebral, and competitors like Done and Hims, quickly and easily began offering Adderall through their telehealth platforms.
The companies have been criticized for relatively lax policies regarding prescription drugs and advertising directly to young people on social media apps such as TikTok.
Adderall prescriptions are up 15 percent from 2020 to 2021 for Americans ages 22 to 44.
Rising demand, combined with production problems, has led to a shortage of Adderall that is expected to last at least through 2023.
Cerebral did not respond to a DailyMail.com request for comment on Mr. Hanson’s death.
The company has been under fire in recent months and embroiled in a growing list of controversies.
The Justice Department has issued a subpoena to investigate the company for allegedly misusing controlled substances, such as Adderall.
In the weeks following, pharmacy giant CVS said it would no longer fill prescriptions for cerebral patients, citing the subpoena and the company’s lax prescribing guidelines.
Kyle Robertson, the company’s CEO and founder, stepped down in May amid the controversy.
He later claimed that leading investors in the company were pushing for more prescriptions to increase revenue. The company has since denied these allegations.
As the Covid pandemic comes to an end, many policies put in place in response are being rolled back.
There is no end date for Adderall prescription drug easing. Cerebral insists that the change become permanent.
WHAT IS ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
It affects about five percent of children in the US. About 3.6 per cent of boys and 0.85 per cent of girls suffer in the UK.
Symptoms usually appear at a young age and become more noticeable as a child grows. These can also be:
- Constant fidgeting
- Bad concentration
- Moving or talking excessively
- Act without thinking
- Little or no sense of danger
- Careless mistakes
- Difficulty organizing tasks
- Inability to listen or follow instructions
Most cases are diagnosed between six and 12 years of age. Adults can also suffer from it, but there is less research into this.
The exact cause of ADHD is unclear, but it is believed to involve genetic mutations that affect a person’s brain function and structure.
Premature babies and babies with epilepsy or brain damage are more at risk.
ADHD is also associated with anxiety, depression, insomnia, Gilles de la Tourette and epilepsy.
There is no medicine.
A combination of medication and therapy is usually recommended to relieve symptoms and make everyday life easier.
Source: NHS choices